Israeli army admits using prohibited munitions against civiliansPalestine Times, August 2001
Occupied Jerusalem - The Israeli occupation army admitted using internationally-prohibited munitions against Palestinian civilians.
The Israeli State-run radio quoted a senior army officer as saying that the army "has been using tank-fired flechette anti-personnel shells" against Palestinians.
This lethal type of munitions killed three Palestinian women from one family from south of the Gaza Strip on 9 June, and claimed many other lives in the course of the 8-month-old Palestinian intifada.
The Israeli officer said the use of the deadly shell against individuals was "legitimate," claiming the army was authorized to use it "outside populated areas."
The Palestinians, however, strongly dispute the claim, stressing that hundreds of flechette shells were fired on residential areas.
Hospital sources in Gaza, especially in the Rafah area, spoke of hundreds of civilians wounded by the darts released when the shell explodes.
According to Jane's Defense Weekly, the Israeli army is using a modified version of the M949 105 mm APERS-T round provided by the U.S. in the 1970s. According to a U.S. manual, the round is "designed for close-in assault against massed infantry assaults and for offensive fire against exposed enemy personnel."
The Israeli army fitted the M949 shell with the Reshef Technologies OMEGA M127 electronic fuse, which is set, before the round is fired. At the set range, the forward section of the M949 round ruptures, releasing approximately 5,000 small flechette darts and a dye marker. The flechettes are dispersed in a cone-shaped pattern, which is 300 metres long, and about 94 metres wide.
Palestinian security official Abdul Razzaq al-Majayda described the use of the flechette shells against Palestinian civilians as "a manifestly blatant war crime."
"Their aim is to maim, cripple and kill as many people as possible," said